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Help in a crisis
Get up and grow

Allotment project changes volunteer's life

A project run by independent mental health charity, Suffolk Mind, has changed the life of a volunteer who has suffered from depression for the last nine years.  

Mike Bourne, 52, began volunteering for Suffolk Mind four years ago at one of its GreenCare allotment projects, which are based across Suffolk. Since then, he has gained more confidence.

"I was just sitting at home 24 hours a day not doing anything but watching TV. One day I woke up and thought I need to get out and start doing something, so that's when I joined the allotment project.

"I joined as a volunteer because, as well as helping myself, I wanted to help others who are going through what I did. You meet friends and learn how to grow things. From growing something from a little seed to putting it on your dinner plate is incredible. It's a real achievement when you've looked after it for so long."

Mike continued: "The GreenCare project is just fantastic and it's changed my life completely. I now go out more, and am more confident in every way."

Suffolk Mind has allotment projects in Hadleigh, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Each site offers people the opportunity to learn about gardening and contribute to the creation of a thriving growing space that benefits everyone. People can also make new friends and get support from other group members.

Sarah Manton-Roseblade, GreenCare manager, said: "Getting outdoors into the fresh air, gently increasing activity and working alongside others is great for your physical and mental wellbeing. It helps people to meet some of their emotional needs, such as feeling part of a community, achieving something new and having meaning and purpose in their life.

"At Suffolk Mind, we want to make Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health, and this project helps us to work towards achieving our mission."

Suffolk Mind is currently looking for people to volunteer at each allotment project across Suffolk. For more details, email info@suffolkmind.org.uk or call 0300 111 6000.

The allotment projects run:

Haverhill – Thursday, 12.30–3.30pm

Hadleigh – Friday, 10am–1pm

Bury St Edmunds – Friday, 10am–1pm

Ipswich – first Thursday of each month, 10am start

For more details about the Suffolk Mind allotment projects, visit: www.suffolkmind.org.uk/services/greencare